Friday, December 6, 2013

Thumpety, Thump, Thump… Look At Frosty... LIVE!

One of my Facebook buddies posted as her status, the words “Frosty the Snowman was a jolly and happy soul”... and immediately I thought of contentment.  Frosty had a pipe, and a button nose, and two eyes made out of coal. And he was content.  He was happy.  How do I know that?  Because he sang about it.  Don’t we sing when we’re happy?  Anyway, it said a lot to me.  We certainly have more than a pipe, a button nose and two eyes made out of coal, yet how many of us aren't content with who we are... hmmm... or what we have?

We are in the season (and actually should always be), of thankfulness.  It’s the time of the year where people are grateful.  Or seem to be.  They are joyful of Christmas coming and what it means to them.  They are happy about seeing loved ones they don’t get to see often.  Happy about get-togethers, and kids are happy about the presents.  I’m happy for the season.  After all it’s the season of giving.  A reminder of the precious and loving God we serve.  The Giver of life and all things good.  The miraculous birth of Jesus. It's the season of miracles and wonders, of new beginnings. 

When I saw the words posted, “Frosty the Snowman was a jolly and happy soul,” I thought of the rest of how the song goes, “with a corn-filled pipe and a button nose and two eyes made out of coal.”  As I said, some of us are not happy with the noses we have. Some of us think our eyes are too small, too big or too close together.  But thinking of Frosty and the rest of the song, it didn’t matter to him where his eyes were.  What mattered was that he had some.  He had eyes to see.  It didn’t matter what his nose was made of, what mattered was that he had one.  Frosty is the picture of contentment.  Just thankful to be alive. 

I know you all are probably saying, well that is just a fairy-tale; a cartoon character made up by Dr. Seuss or somebody, what does that have to do with reality?  What does that have to do with me?  Well first, "Frosty the Snowman" was written as a song by Jack Rollins and Steve Nelson, shortly after the release of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  Its original intent was just that, a song, but then a 3-minute animated short was made from it and from there it went on to be a television sensation.  And while the story is based on fairy-tale, we can yet learn something from it.  And I believe that God is sharing that with us… contentment and thankfulness.  We serve a real God.  And what better way to show we believe that but by being content and thankful for what who are, what we have and just life itself.

Well, the words of the song continue with,
“Frosty the Snowman, is a fairytale, they say. 
He was made of snow, but the children know
how he came to life one day. 
There must have been some magic in that old silk hat they found,
for when they placed it on his head,
he began to dance around!  
Oh, Frosty, the Snowman, was alive as he could be;
and the children say he could laugh and play,
just the same as you and me.”

You see, the children placed a hat on his head and when they did Frosty came to life.   And if you ever watch the show you will see, he comes to life again and again and again.  He was happy to be alive and he makes the most of that life when it happens, by dancing, by enjoying the children, enjoying his environment, knowing that at any given point his life as he knew it could be taken away from him. 

The children had to make sure Frosty the Snowman wasn’t in the sun.  Because if he was, he would melt away.  And Frosty knew this, so while he could enjoy being alive, he did.  Every time they bought him to life, he would say, “Happy Birthday.”  A new day, another chance, another opportunity to live, celebrate and appreciate the life he had.   So he would play with the kids and he would sing his song, with his corn-filled pipe, his button nose and his two eyes made out of coal, every time they placed the hat on his head.

Yes, we can take something from the life of Frosty the Snowman, fairy-tale or not.  We have to be thankful not only for what we have, not only for our eyes, not only for our noses, but for our life itself.  The fact that many of us are still here is a testament to the goodness and faithfulness of the God we claim to know and love.  We are living, we are breathing, and every day that we get to open our eyes to SEE, every day that we get to inhale, exhale and breath (especially through our noses), we should be thankful.  And in this season, especially, when the winter and the snow, just to stay mindful of Frosty the Snowman.  A jolly happy soul, appreciative of life.

Oh, Lord, teach us to number our days that we might apply our hearts unto wisdom.  Teach us to be thankful and to appreciate the life you have given us by sending Your Son, Jesus to be born.  Help us to be thankful for eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart that beats. 

“Happy Birthday!”  God is real.

Be blessed.
A servant of the Lord,
Sis. E

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Contamination of Our Faith

After recently getting over some type of germ God reminded me of something.

I was speaking with a friend and she mentioned to me that she felt like she was catching a cold and she was baffled because she keeps her hand sanitizer with her at all times and is constantly washing them.  But somehow, she said, she managed to pick up a germ and it was puzzling her because she really did not know where she had gotten it from.  And we spoke for a few minutes about germs and not being aware of the surfaces until something else caught our attention in the conversation.

But shortly after I got off the phone with her, God began to speak to me about germs and just how easy we can pick them up naturally and spiritually and more importantly, how we can allow our faith to become contaminated.  Allow germs to come in and affect what we believe. 

Simple things like, bad advice, taking counsel from an unsaved loved one or friend.  What we watch and what we listen to.  Things like the Fear Factor, facing our fears “supposedly” instead of simply rebuking them.  See how easy it is to accept things?  Scandal and the like, taking part in the enjoyment of someone sleeping with their married president.  Yeah, I know the show is about more than that and we all have our “vices,” right?  Those things that may not be okay to someone else, but are seemingly okay for us.  But okay, I’ll leave that one alone.  For now, anyway, since it seems I may be hitting a nerve and you might miss the point of this message.  But, I think you get the idea.  We yet have to be mindful of what we’re watching so that it doesn’t become a part of who we are and the decisions we make.  So that it doesn’t contaminate our faith (or our witness, for that matter).

Music and even radio shows we listen to that do not glorify God can contaminate our faith.  The language we hear (and allow) in conversations; jokes that aren’t really funny, nor should we find them to be.  Yet we laugh, albeit shyly.   Does everything we do, say, and watch have to glorify God, you ask?  It should.  Or at the very least, ask yourself this, if Jesus was sitting right next to you while you were watching or listening to whatever it is that you’re doing, would He cringe???   Uhmmm.

God says we even listen to gossip (that’s a germ), people talking about other people, often times covering it up under “we need to pray for so and so…”  And sometimes we are the very voices we hear.  We’re doing it ourselves.

All these things and others contaminate our faith.  They cause our faith to weaken.  And we do them and we wonder why things are not working for us.  Why we can’t rebuke the spirit of sickness or any other one from our midst?  We wonder why prayers aren’t answered or hindered.  We’ve picked up a germ and have allowed things to come in and contaminate our very being.  Causing us to be “sick”, unable to believe, to act on or even to hear the promises of God.  Sickness is a barrier.  It’s a blessing blocker.  Your faith has been contaminated.

We’ll find ourselves saying things that we don’t normally say.  Speaking curses over our lives instead of the Word of God.  Saying I’m sick (or/and tired) and leaving it there, instead of speaking “by the stripes of Jesus I am healed.”  “In my weakness, His strength is made perfect.”  We’ll curse someone out and give them a piece of our mind, instead of praying for them like the Bible says.  “Pray for those that despitefully use you.”  Like my husband has said, some of us don’t have any mind left, because we gave away too many pieces.  If you have been saved, you are a child of God and with that, you have the mind of Christ.  But when you give it up, you have allowed something to contaminate what you believe.  You have given up a piece of your faith. 

We’ll even find ourselves doing things that we would not otherwise do, or things that we have already stopped doing because God has delivered us from it.  Like visiting liquor stores and watching porn.  Why?  Because we’ve allowed the germs of lust, adultery, debauchery and the like to affect us.  How?  By watching what we’ve been watching. 

We stop giving, because we have allowed the fear of not having enough to enter the picture.  We stop loving, because we have allowed bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness to settle in our hearts.  We’ve picked up a germ. 

We will allow our faith to be contaminated when we continually hang around people who are not of like faith.  Because they will speak things and often do things that are contrary to the Word of God.  Even something as simple as not blessing their food.  It will rub off on you.  And the next time you go to a restaurant you’ll find yourself just digging in, taking a pass on the grace.  You are bound to pick up a germ if you keep going where germs are. 

We have to be careful.  Just like with a cold, keep your hands clean.  Take your spiritual vitamins.  Yeah, I’m gonna say it, you’re a Christian, B-1.   (Sorry, couldn’t resist… lol).  Be aware of your surroundings.  Cover yourself (and your mouth) in prayer.  Put on your spiritual warfare.  Guard your heart with all diligence for out of it flows the issues of life.  Keep your head covered, by keeping your mind stayed on Jesus.  And think of those things that are lovely, pure, of good report, worthy of praise.  Be joyful, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.  Then you will be totally resistant to anything trying to contaminate you or your faith.

God is good.  And He’s real!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Now That You’ve Prayed, Take the Time to Listen

I have Christian, my darling grandson, this week, which means, I get to play the “mommy” role, all over again.  I know we never stop being mommy, but since my children are 20, 25, and 31, I no longer have to be “mommy.”  Anyway, so yesterday, my first day, I had to get him up, iron his clothes, make sure he washed and got dressed, make him breakfast and get him off to school, all by 8am.  Yes I know for many of you this is no big deal, and at a different time in my life, it was no big deal for me either.  But after being free for the last 15 years (at least) of doing so, it’s quite the adjustment.  So I had to re-adjust my schedule.
Of course, I slept later than I wanted to, so everything was already a little thrown off, including my prayer and devotional time.  Yes it happens.  But thank God that we serve a God who loves us so much, that He won’t let it happen without at least letting us know that it has happened.

In my running yesterday, I stopped at a store to return something and as I was coming out of the store, there was a homeless man, begging.  He asked me for some money to get him something to eat.  In my rush to my car, I said, “Okay, wait a minute.  I have to get to my car first.”  I was thinking that I would go to my car, and pull my wallet out in the car (because wisdom just says that’s the better way of doing something like that), and then go and give it to him.  So I went to my car and purposed to give him a couple of dollars.  I heard the Lord, say, “No, give him the $10 bill.”  So I took that out my wallet and walked back to give it to the man, placing it in his hand.  He then told me to come to him because he wanted to tell me something.  I came no closer and simply said, “No, you can tell me from there.”  I was only about 2 feet away.  And then he went on to tell me that I hurt his feelings, because he was asking me for something and in my rushing, I said no.  I didn’t really know how to respond to this.  I was taken aback and sort of surprised.  First, because he never even said thank you for the money and then for him to be “telling me off” the way he was.  But I told him, “I didn’t tell you no.  I told you I would be right back and I’m here, aren’t I?  I just gave you $10.”  I think I might have rolled my eyes a little bit, but recognized the need to walk in the spirit.  I know I didn’t say what I wanted to say.  Thank You Holy Ghost!   Yet learning how to yield to the Spirit. 
But anyway he said, “Ok, I apologize… but you were rushing.  So busy rushing… not hearing me.”  I just shook my head and said it’s okay and proceeded to walk right next door into the Acme supermarket.   Then he says to me, “Hey you could slow down and walk with me in there.  I’m going there too….  You’re so busy rushing, can’t even take the time to listen.”  Again, I just shook my head in disgust, sort of, hearing that word, rushing… and began to question the Lord… saying, “What is he talking about, Lord? Why did You have me to help this man?  He reeks of alcohol, he’s insulting me, he has no manners… and so on and so on… until I realized that God wasn’t answering me.  So I just said, “Ok Lord.”  And just shrugged my shoulders and went on about my business, getting what I needed from the supermarket.  Then as I left, the man was sitting on the bench in front of the supermarket and I said to him, “Have a great rest of the day, Sir.”  And he just nodded his head at me almost dismissingly.

And I thought about that all the day long yesterday.  Even his dismissal of me.  And this morning I made my adjustments to be able to take care of Christian, with the help of my husband, who did most of it (two are better than one, the Bible says… can’t be anymore truth to that), and as I sat down to pray this morning, God said this “What you did to that man, you did to Me.”  I wasn’t sure I heard him and then I remembered the man from yesterday and my actions, and God said, “I desired to say something to you.  I wanted you to come closer to Me and in your busyness, you refused Me.  You told me to wait and you rejected My request.”   And there I stood convicted.  All I could do was humble myself and ask for forgiveness.
The God of all creation, my God, my Lord, my Savior wanted to talk to me.  Wanted to take some time and say something to me.  He told me, “You took the time to pray, but you did not take the time to listen.”   Oh Lord.  Forgive me.  He went on, “I would have helped you… I would have made it easier for you with Christian, if you had only taken the time to listen to Me.”

In my busyness and trying to be “mommy” I failed to be a child.  I failed to be God’s child.  To make the adjustment I needed to hear from my Father.  Yes, I prayed.  I made my requests known unto God.  I went on behalf of others and even myself, “Lord, give me strength today… Help me to do what I need to do.”  But I did not take the time to listen.  To hear.  To allow God to give me direction and guidance. 
But God said, I was not alone.  He said that WE (you and I) have our routines and we have our schedules of where He fits in and that’s a good thing, but then when things come in, the extra things, we need to adjust ourselves accordingly so that our fellowship time with the Lord goes unhindered.  And if we take the time to pray, we MUST take the time to listen. 

I didn’t think that I was not listening or not open to hear from God, but He knows my mind was so focused on doing what I needed to do for Christian that I did not allow room for God to lead me how to do it.  If He is our life, if the Word is our life and we live by every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God, we must always be led by the Spirit of God.  The Word says, “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”  God would have made everything I had to do a little easier to do it had I listened.

Yes, I was convicted.  God painted a clear picture of just how much He loves me and desires to speak to me and how I ignored Him, by using a homeless man, begging for some money and some time. 
God is real.  So real.  Who could imagine a God that loves us like that, that He would beg for your money and your time? 

I’m taking the time to pray STILL and but even more so, I’m taking the time to listen. 

Be blessed.

A (humbled) servant of the Lord,
Sis. E

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Keep Your Balance

At the end of April my mother-in-law came to our house for a visit.  About a week after her arrival, she had what the doctors termed a series of "mini" strokes.  She was hospitalized for a couple of days, as she was not able to move the right side of her body and then moved to a rehab center for the next three weeks.  After rehab, she came back to stay with us where she has been since the end of May.  Since that time, my husband and I have been taking care of her every need.  Providing shelter, preparing and feeding her meals, making and keeping in-home nursing and physical therapy visits and now more recently, doctors’ visits.  Praise God that she is doing 100% better than when she arrived here from Michigan and praise God that He kept her and gave us the wisdom to take her to the emergency when things didn't appear to be right.  We had not known that she had suffered one stroke, let alone a series of strokes... but by the grace of God.

I write for several reasons today, first to encourage those that are being caretakers/caregivers to loved ones at home.  Having become one and watching my husband give so much of himself, when so many things are pulling him in other directions, being a pastor, an entrepreneur, a professor, father and husband; being a caregiver is selfless loving and it requires a lot of time, energy and effort that many of us just do not have (or maybe do not want) to give.  And it truly defines and shows you what you have inside of you and what you are or are not capable of doing.  I have a greater respect and honor for those who have made decisions to do this on a full-time basis and I pray God's strength for you all.  You are special indeed in the eyes of the Lord for what you have chosen to do in looking after the needs of others, especially those who are not your own.

I write also as a release.  In the last couple of months God has been doing some things in me through this experience and quite a few others.  He has been speaking (and not) and revealing Himself in new and different ways.  It has been tough, but I am thankful that the end is near and God shall be glorified.  It has caused me to become quiet and still and to really come to know the peace of God that passes all understanding.  God has shed light on some of the darker areas in my life and even some of the people that were a part of it.  I believe that I am now experiencing freedom, true freedom, like Jesus said we ought to have it.  Free from hurt, free from pain, free from condemnation, free from the cares of this world.  And get this, free from people and what they think.  God's Word is true and that continues to be my testimony.  No matter the situation we find ourselves in, there is purpose and there is growth.  ALL things work together for the good to those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose, to that purpose.  

Lastly, I wanted to share this, because I believe that it summarizes everything.  Recently my husband and I were out with my mother-in-law walking into a building.  As my husband stood by her side, my mother-in-law walked leaning on the walker to give her balance, looking steadily at the ground before her.  In a quick moment I saw her glance off in another direction and just that quick she lost her step.  And my husband said to her, "Why do you keep losing your balance?"  And not even thinking I just responded and told him, "Because she is not focused on the path before her.  She looked over to the right."  

And at that moment the Holy Ghost arrested my thought and made me listen to and hear what I had just said.  SHE LOST BALANCE BECAUSE SHE WAS NOT FOCUSED.  BECAUSE SHE LOST FOCUS ON THE PATH BEFORE HER.  SHE LOOKED OVER TO THE RIGHT.

And this is what God spoke; so many times we wonder why we are off balance, why things might feel out of whack, why things just don't seem to be lining up.  God says it's because we have taken our eyes off of our ground.  Off of our course.  We have taken our eyes off the path set before us.  We have turned to the right or to the left, and have done exactly what He commanded us NOT to do.

Part of our walking with God is staying obedient to His Word, to what He tells us to do.  That is our walker.  His Word.  How can two walk together except they be agreed?  That's what the Word says.  If we are not walking in agreement with the Word of God, we will take ourselves off of our path and we WILL lose our balance.  
The Word of God is what keeps us.  The Word of God is what balances us.  God's Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.  If we don't stay focused on that, we will fall because we have set ourselves up to do so. 

God is real.  Praying that we will keep our balance and stay on the path.  No matter where it takes us.

Be blessed.

A servant of the Lord,
Sis. E

"The Word is my life"

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Jesus Knew

Jesus knew He had to go into the wilderness for 40 days.
He knew He would be hungry and dared and tempted and tried.
He knew He would have a need to be baptized of John.
He knew the people would run out of wine at the wedding feast and His mother would expect Him to do something about it.
He knew how many times, in spite of what they had seen; His disciples would doubt Who He said He was.
He knew He would meet a woman at the well who not only had five men, but the one she was living with was not her husband.
He knew the woman who was caught in adultery and that no one would be able to throw the first stone. (He also knew the man that was with her).
He knew how many times the Pharisees and Sadducees would challenge Him and question His authority.
He knew that Zaccheus would climb into a Sycamore tree to try and see Him, and that He would later eat at His house.
He knew that Mary would wash His feet with her hair.
He knew that His disciples would fall asleep even though He asked them to watch and pray.
He knew that Judas would come and betray Him with a kiss.
He knew that people would love Him one day, waving palms and shouting Hosanna and then yell out, “Crucify Him, Crucify Him” the next.
He knew Peter would deny Him, not once, not twice, but three times and He knew how bad Peter would feel after doing so, which is why He told him three times, to “feed My sheep.”’
He knew He would get spit on, mocked, beaten, bruised, scourged and hung.
He knew He would be pierced in His side and left to die on a rugged cross
He knew He had to die.
But He did it anyway.
Because Jesus knew we needed to be free.
He knew that we would need peace.
He knew that we would need joy; the world could not give us.
He knew we needed to know that by His stripes we have been healed.
He knew that we needed hope.
He knew that we needed to know forgiveness.
That we needed His mercy, His grace and His power
That we needed to experience His love.
Jesus knew that we needed a way to His Father.
And He stretched out His arms and died
Because He knew.

A servant of the Lord,
Sis. E

Friday, March 22, 2013

A Precious Death

With Easter upon us and as I was reflecting on the season and the birth, death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I was reminded of something that I shared with my church family a few weeks ago.  Psalm 116:15 says, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.”  I have heard the Scripture many times, often mentioned when it comes to a loved one passing, a saved loved one in fact, going home to be with Jesus.

As many have taught on this Scripture, it’s comforting to know that when we die, God considers it as precious in His eyes.  God is delighted to see us in heaven with Him.  But one day I was sitting at my desk, and my son, Joseph came over to me and just started talking.  And we were talking about doing things for church and how often we are asked to do things that we might not consider ourselves “qualified” to do.  Now anyone who really knows me and knows of the journey that the Lord has brought me on, knows that when I am asked to do things that are out of my realm of comfort, more often than not, I have cringed at the very thought of it.  (Yes, I admit, I still do sometimes).  Whether it be teaching Sunday school, sharing a Word, leading our Women’s group, those things are not comfortable for me.  In fact if it was left up to me, I would remain on the last row, behind the video camera, perfectly satisfied to be the church cheerleader.  But God.

Well anyway, Joseph says to me, that when I am called upon to do something I appear to be at ease.  He said that I look comfortable in doing what I am asked to do.  And that’s when that Scripture took on a whole new meaning for me, because God spoke to me and said, “How precious you are when you die.”  And I was a little taken aback for a second, but God continued to speak, and said, “Every time you die to what you want in order to fulfill my will, I count it as precious in My sight.”  He said that every time that I have not buckled up against His authority and have submitted to what was asked of me, in spite of what I believe are my shortcomings, I am precious in His eyes.  Every time that I die to what I would rather do and make a decision to do what He asks of me (or His servant asks of me), I am precious in His eyes. 
God said, the reason why my son Joseph thought that it came easy for me, was because of my decision to die.  My desire to do what God has asked, instead of what I wanted.  My choice to lift up God’s will instead of my own, made God look good.  God said, that dying to my will and desiring that He be glorified in it, made whatever I had to do, look easy.

With Easter upon us and as we continue our Christian walk of faith, just as Jesus picked up His cross and died, we need to remember to die.  Jesus death was precious in God’s sight.  God wants us to die.  Jesus said Himself, Anyone who is not willing to pick up His cross and die, is not worthy of Him.  The great apostle Paul said that he died daily in order that the Father’s will be done.  So must we.  We have to die constantly to our wants and desires that we may be able to pick up the will of the Father and allow Him to be glorified in it.  Every moment that we are faced with a decision to obey or not to obey.  To forgive (and forget), to love, to submit… we ought to die to ourselves that it might be precious in the sight of our loving Father.  Because God says, “Precious in His sight is the death of His children.”  Natural and spiritual.  Precious in His sight, of high cost or worth; valuable, highly esteemed and cherished.  That’s what God sees when we die. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His child.  Me.  You.

And if you are a parent, just think about this for a moment (and try to visualize it if you are not), every time we ask our children to do something and we know that it is something that they would rather not do, but yet, because we have asked, they do it, how does that make you feel?  How does that look to you?  Precious.  It’s precious in our sight when they obey.  And so it His with our heavenly Father.  Precious in the sight of our God is the death of one of His saints.

God is good.  And He’s real.  And so for Him I live, for Him I die… again. J

A servant of the Lord,
Sis. E

Thursday, February 28, 2013

About Face

God has me working on a new project (He's always doing new things!)... and in the process, I've had to go through some files and re-read some stuff.  One of the first things that He brought my attention to was this piece that I wrote back in 2005 about who else..., Christian.  It's amazing how much this little boy has brought into my life.  Sometimes things happen and we don't like them, but they are always designed to make us better or to take us to a different place.  And sometimes these things happen that we might be propelled into our destiny.  This was my first sharing on a "Christian" enlightenment.  Pray it blesses and encourages your heart today.

God has blessed us with a beautiful grandson.  Christian Elijah is just about a year old now and we bless God for bringing him into our lives. 

A while ago, before he learned how to walk, I was watching Christian crawling around on the floor, playing with a ball.  Our son Joseph came into the room and pretended like he was some sort of monster and attempted to scare Christian.  God used his response to this to speak to me. 

I would have to imagine that many babies would have probably started running or turned away or even started crying, when somebody would appear out of nowhere and attempt to scare them.  But Christian didn’t.  He simply turned back toward Joseph’s direction, on the offense. And as I watched him, I heard the Spirit of the Lord tell me, “That is what we as Christians need to do.”  He said that we know the enemy is in attack mode (especially when we’re walking in right standing with God) and when those attacks come we need not be surprised, but just need to stand up to them and face them.  

God said that too often we want to run away from our attackers, those things that “come upon us.”  Our health, finances, relationships… whatever your attack might be at the moment.  But instead we need to run towards them; take up our shields of faith (that’s why God has given it to us) and stand against it.  Christian faced his “enemy.”  He looked him right in the face and with his actions, he said, “Bring it on.”  
God is so good and so real in our lives, that He would use this little baby to speak to us.   Praise the Lord!  He who has an ear, let him hear.  

Be blessed,
Sis. E

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

So What?!... I Have A Crutch!

I have heard many people say that we as Christians have a crutch.  That we need a crutch.  Every time we bring up the Word, that’s our crutch.  That religion is just a crutch.  That Jesus is just a crutch.  Blah, blah, blah and so on, and so forth… That it’s an excuse that we make as Christians, to make somebody or something else responsible for what we do.  I’ve heard it all.  All the critics.  All kinds of reasoning as to who Christians are and why they act the way they do and all God is to us, is a crutch.  But I want you to know, as I shared with the members of my church recently… that’s exactly right.  God is a crutch.  And so what?!...  I have a crutch! 

Not too long ago I was meditating on the Scripture where Jacob was wrestling with the Angel of the Lord (Genesis 32).  The Scripture says he wrestled all night long with an ‘I will not let go until you bless me attitude.’  You see, I believe that Jacob had gotten to a breaking point, the point of no return and he made up his mind that he was going to see a change in his life, one way or another.  God instructed to go back to his hometown, where he believed his brother Esau was out to kill him.  So he let his servants along with his livestock, all go ahead of him divided in droves, for fear of his life.  And he sent his wives, Rachel and Leah, separately to another place along with his children, to hide them.  And Jacob was left alone. 

And then he met a man.  And the Scripture says he wrestled with that man until the man broke a piece of his thigh and then the Scripture says, the man changed his name to Israel, because he (Jacob) as a prince has wrestled with God and prevailed.   (So we know who the man was, don’t we?).  But Jacob walked away with a limp.

If we are to be truly victorious people of God, we all must have had a breaking experience.  We’ve all had to get to a point where we make up our minds, one way or the other; we’re in it for the long haul.  We’re tired of the way things have gone and we want and need change.  It’s a point where we have come to the end of ourselves, fearful of what will come in our lives if we don’t change.  It’s a place we finally come to the realization that we can do nothing of ourselves, that we need God.  That we need the Lord, to keep us, to cover us, to grace us to do whatever task is before us.

We all, like Jacob, must come to that place and once we do should have some sort of a sign as a result of that breaking.  A scar, a mark that says we have been broken.  Our will has been set aside for the Master’s use.   We’ve wrestled with our emotions, ourselves, our destiny, our purpose and we’ve wrestled with God.  And as princes, we’ve prevailed, but we walk away from all that wrestling with a limp.  A limp that will cause us to depend on God’s strength alone to carry us.  But the best part of it all is because we have a limp, we recognize the need to have a crutch.  Some kind of assistance to help us to stand.  And that crutch is God.  So what, if I have a crutch?! 

And what exactly is a crutch?   Well, I looked it up.  One definition says, “It’s a device used for assistance or support”; another says, “Something that supports or sustains.”  Last time I checked God is a Sustainer.  He’s also a very present help.  So what does that make Him?  A crutch.  He is your support.  He is your assistance.  He helps you to stand. 

Those times when you get over something, when you forgive (when your flesh tells you otherwise), when you need strength to go on, God has been your crutch.  Helping you to stand through it all.  Those times when you just don’t think you can do it on your own, when you needed peace, when you needed comfort, when you needed joy.  God has been your crutch.  Right by your side encouraging your soul.  Helping you to continue to believe and to hope, and to dare, and to dream and to walk on.  God is our crutch.

Since I’ve been saved, I don’t walk the same.  I have been broken.  I walk with a limp, sometimes it’s painful, but it’s always victorious!  And my limp serves as a reminder that I have been broken.  That I have wrestled with God over some things and in some ways I have prevailed, because I am still here!  I’ll gladly take the limp because it helps me to remember that I can do nothing on my own.  That I need God.  That I need the Lord Jesus Christ.  That I need the Holy Spirit.  That I need Him to give me guidance and direction.  To give me peace.  To give me hope and a future.  To fulfill His purpose, His will for my life on the earth.  So what if I have a crutch!    

And because you have refused to let go, you received your breaking and your blessing.  Just like Jacob.  And you got the limp AND the crutch to prove it!  Just ask the ones insulting you. 

God is real.  And He is holding you up.  As the song says, “It’s the power of God that keeps holding me up, holding me up, holding me up.  It’s the power of God that keeps holding me up, He keeps on holding me up!”  God keeps on holding you up!  Just like a crutch.

Be blessed.
Sis. E

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Remember to Ask

My grandson, Christian, just celebrated his 9th birthday and I found myself reflecting, watching videos and looking at old pictures.  Anybody that knows me, even for a little while, knows that I like to take pictures... don't care much about being in them, but I will take them if you let me.  So from the time Christian was born I had an, albeit not voluntarily, model.  But nonetheless I had one.  So I was looking at old pics of him when he was baby and watching the many videos I shot of him throughout his years which brought me to today.  (That’s just a side note).  

Anyway as I was reflecting on him, God brought something to my remembrance which I posted about today but here is the story behind the post as I journaled it on October 6th, 2011.

I found myself in a hospital emergency room with my grandson, Christian, who was 7 at the time, whom I had picked up from school because he had complained about stomach pains and my daughter, Brandi (his mom) was at work.  I brought him to my house but after a couple of hours he was still complaining and judging from the look in his eyes, I thought it was time to take him to the hospital.

After being there for several hours, from about 2:00pm, it was about 9 now and after numerous tests, the doctors came up with an inconclusive report.  They thought it might have been his appendix, but was not certain.  The doctor spoke with us, me and my daughter and was telling us of the options for Christian.  That Christian could go home and Brandi would have to watch him and bring him back immediately if the pain started up again, or that Christian could remain in the hospital and allow them to watch him.  Or he could be transferred at that moment to another hospital, which could run further tests as they were in a position to do so, since they had a pediatric unit.  Christian heard these choices and cried out, "I don't want to stay in the hospital.  I want to go home!"  And went on to say how he wasn't in anymore pain.  Then the doctor left us to make our decision.

Brandi looked at me for an answer and I told her she had to make the decision, as it was hers to make, "but follow your heart."  She then told the doctor she wanted Christian to be transferred.  And Christian broke out in more tears, crying louder than before, causing his mom to cry and to doubt what she decided.  She looked at me again, in confusion and fear, and as I started to speak in that instance, Christian blurted out, "Did anybody ask God?  Did you Mom?"  And then declared that he would do so and proceeded to close his eyes and pray.  He opened his eyes and said that God said that I'm going to be alright.  And then he went back to "I want to go home."  Brandi continued to comfort him and I left the room and called my husband to tell him of the circumstances.  He said we had to do what was best for Christian.  And as I walked back to the room where they were, I had strength to help her to make that decision and to stick to it, and as much as he cried after that, Brandi stayed with her decision to have him transferred.  

Christian was transferred, was in the hospital overnight and after no more pain, he was discharged early that evening.  Doctors never determined the cause.  Bless God! 

And over the next couple of days following the incident, I had been thinking about Christian and how brave he was.  But what really stood out the most, was just how much he expressed his faith.  When this had first happened to him, I had prayed for him and when the pain wouldn't go away, he wondered, "Why isn't it gone, Grandma? We prayed.  Why didn't God take it away?"  He still knew and had expectations, which is hope, faith, that since he prayed that God would answer.  And we should always have that expectation as well.  We may not know when God will move, we don't know His timing, but we have to know that He will.  

And then later on when a decision was placed before us, Christian had enough wherewithal to say, "Did anyone ask God?" He knew that God had the answer and though he prayed, he said God told him he would be alright, but he never said God told him, when, or he could go home.  But he knew still that he would be alright, enough to want to go home.

Christian's faith taught me something.  And I am grateful that God allowed me to see it. Faith is about seeking the Lord for direction, for healing, for whatever it is we need, and having the expectation that He will answer. Expectation is hope.  Hope maketh not ashamed.  God will answer.  We just have to believe that and know that with the faith of a little child.

Thank You Jesus!

God is real.  And He answers prayer.

Sis. E

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

"Can't Buy Me Love"

A little while back as an expression of my love, I had the desire to send someone a sort of expensive gift.  Thinking it would be a nice thing to do, seeing that it was something that I absolutely knew they would love to have.  In the back of my mind, I also thought it would be a "good" way to show them just “how much” I love them because I just knew for a certainty that if they saw this gift, they would have to know just how much I really loved them.   After going back and forth, I finally decided against doing so.  Then another opportunity presented itself where I could buy something else, for two people, reasonably priced, but yet of a little expense.  Though I would be catching a deal on it, the persons would still know how much it usually costs, and would appreciate it. I figured I would be getting a bargain because I could please two people at the same time and win their love and affection.  Well, again, after going back and forth, (not as much as the first time however), I decided against doing so.

And then it happened again.  The thought came to me just a few short weeks later.  “Let me do ‘so and so.  Let me get ‘such and such.”’ Talked my way out of it again, (so I thought), but yet settled on getting a card and gift card.  I purchased the items and tucked them away until I felt the appropriate time to send it off. 

The day came where I thought it would be good to mail it and just as I reached for the items, God said to me, “It won’t work.”  And as I tried to understand and to hear what I was hearing, He spoke again and said, “Your money can’t buy their love.”  And I laughed to myself, almost as in tears, as my spirit finally came to a truth… that no matter what I buy, no matter what I try to do, no matter how I try to fix things it won’t work.  They still will not love me.  Then I had a sense of peace flood my soul, like I have not experienced before with this.  It was the peace that the Word so clearly speaks of, that goes beyond our understanding.  I did not cry.  I did not ask why.  I just knew and finally came to terms with what the Lord had been telling me for years.

People come into our lives.  We love on them, we appreciate them, we do our best to show we care.  We share, we give of ourselves.  Then things happen and a word is said, a thought is twisted, a conversation is misunderstood and those very same people for one reason or another leave our lives.   They stop speaking to us.  They stop coming near us.  They talk about us. 

And in our desire to make things right again, especially with those that we love the dearest, those that are closest to us, those that we have grown to love, those that we have laughed with, and played with, and gone through some things with and watched grow through the years… in our desire to love and be loved, we go out of our way, above and beyond sometimes, to get them to love us.  To make them love us.  We try to buy their love.  To buy their affection.  Their attention.  Win their hearts. 

We try in little ways, a phone call when we hear of something good that happened to them, an email, a text, purposely sent randomly to everyone should they ask.  Sometimes, we agree with them on things, even when they don’t make sense to us.   We try in subtle ways, we laugh out loud to their quirks and their mishaps they post about and tweet about.  We LIKE their instagram photos no matter how they look.  In an effort to show them that we love them, we go all out.  In all these ways and more, buying their love. 

And then when they don’t respond in the way that is befitting what we have shown them, we hurt.  We cry.  We get angry and then wonder why we do it, why bother, and end up doing it all over again.  Only to wind up in the same place with the same revelation, “money” can’t buy their love.

But God spoke this that in our quest to make people love us back, in our quest to buy their love, we have to understand that we are wasting our time.  If they are set on holding grudges, on not forgiving you.  If they are set on being bitter and being angry for something you might or might not have said.  If they have this “aught” in their hearts against you, refusing to acknowledge your existence, or your presence, or your attention, no amount of money, no amount of gifts, no amount of attention will make them love you.  God said, they will just accept the gift and disregard where it came from… you, the giver.  They won’t see anything else other than they just got a gift.  Not how nice it was, not how much it might have cost you, not the sacrifice you made to send it and certainly not the love or the thought you put behind it.

We have to understand that there is nothing that we can do on this earth to change an unforgiving heart.  It is up to them to release.  It is up to them to forgive, to move on, to let go, to want to be loved BY YOU.  It is up to them to receive, which they cannot do if their heart is stopped up with bitterness, resentment, hostility and anger. Unforgiveness.

This was a hard lesson for me to learn and could have been a costly one I suppose.  I tried it before in the past, to send a gift or two, and in fact I did, and that whole year I questioned why I never even received an acknowledgment of the gift.  And it is only now as the Lord has since revealed to me, because my money can’t buy their love.  And as long as the unforgiveness remains in their heart, it never will.

Continue to love however the Lord leads, because God is real.
And He loves you.

A servant of the Lord,
Sis. E